Sustainable social enterprise funding

Written by Mark Evans

The School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) has unveiled its Match Trading tool, a means of grant-funding that matches pound-for-pound any increase in trading income from social enterprises.

By rewarding sales growth, Match Trading empowers social entrepreneurs operating in challenging markets to develop their trading base, so they can build sustainable futures. In 2017, a 100 social enterprises will be supported with Match Trading grants, and there are further planned pilots.

The project has been supported by Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Programme and jointly funded by Big Lottery Fund.

The issue it seeks to address is that many UK social enterprises are not yet profitable, and rely on grants to create funding. Alastair Wilson, CEO of SSE, says: “Many of us working in social enterprise have seen the same problem creep in again and again. The leader of a brilliant, high-impact social enterprise realises they can access grant money far more quickly than it takes to generate the same amount in sales. So they apply for more and more grant, and their model becomes dependent on it. The risk is that, if the grant funding dries up, their organisation and all its fantastic impact just topples over.”

Match Trading was piloted with 19 social entrepreneurs as part of the Lloyds Bank Social Entrepreneurs Trade Up Programme with the participants generating more than £230,000 of additional trading income in one year, and an annual trading income increasing by 92 per cent.

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